How to select a financial adviser
You require cross border financial advice but you’re not sure who to ask. Every year at Montfort we help clients who have been a victim of a scam and we try and help get them back on track with their financial goals but ideally we want to help clients not fall victim to these unscrupulous advisers in the first place.
As the Financial Conduct Authority states “Scammers can be articulate and financially knowledgeable with credible websites” so it’s worth doing your homework. We have compiled the following questions for you to ask when selecting an adviser:
1. Who are you regulated by?
All legitimate UK independent financial advisers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and you can double check on the FCA website. This not only provides reassurance that the firm has been assessed by the UK regulator but also you are protected by UK law as you want to make sure you are protected if the investments were misleading or a complete scam. The best advice you can receive is by an adviser in a regulated jurisdiction where there are the appropriate powers to provide compensation.
2. Are you qualified to provide financial advice and what qualifications do you hold?
There are certain standards required to become a financial adviser in most regulated countries. When you receive advice from a non-regulated jurisdiction you run the risk of receiving advice from someone who is not qualified or only qualified to the minimum level necessary. The question you have to ask is do I really want to be advised by someone who does not have the full knowledge and expertise to provide financial advice?’ In the UK, the highest standard is Chartered Financial Adviser and Chartered Financial Planner. As a minimum you would expect a level 4 qualified adviser to provide you with financial advice.
3. How are you remunerated for the advice?
You are receiving a service which is going to charge a fee and ultimately you should be aware how much. Any reputable adviser should be upfront and transparent about their fee structure. To ensure you are receiving impartial, unbiased advice, you should ask whether the adviser receives commission payments on the products or investments they are recommending.
4. Consider your attitude to risk?
You want to make sure that any investments recommended to you are suitable for your ‘risk profile’. You should expect to complete a questionnaire relating to your attitude to risk so as to determine whether you are, for example, a cautious or moderate investor. This profile will also take into account your investment horizon and what stage you need to liquidate the assets. The investments selected for your portfolio or financial plan should be selected for to suit your needs and investor profile.
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